Flashback in the Pan

While I was on vacation, I was using my mother-in-law’s cottage kitchen. It had a selection of cookware I would never choose for my own, like thin stainless steel frying pans and lots of Corningware. I favor well-seasoned cast iron and 5-ply stainless, and honestly feel a little bummed about cooking for two weeks using anything else.

The kitchen also had an electric stove. I’ve turned down some great living spaces in my lifetime (I’ve moved over 20 times) simply due to the absence of a gas stove. Though it was the new kind with a flat top and elements that transition from hot to cool much more quickly than the old ones, I was getting really frustrated with things sticking and burning.

After some serious searching, I finally discovered an electric skillet up in one of the hard-to-reach cupboards. It was square, about 10″ by 10″, with 4″ deep sides and a non-stick coating. It had a two-prong plug with a dial and a temperature range of 100 to 450 degrees. The lid was avocado green, one of the most popular colors in 1975, (when I was five) along with orange and yellow. In fact, it was the very pan my mother-in-law used to cook 35 years ago for her family. The fact that it was still working was impressive, but what kind of job would it do?

The first thing I tried was scrambled and fried eggs. They came out perfect. Next was pancakes, which turned fluffy and golden on the first batch (my cast iron pans usually take some time, a bunch of fat, and at least one bad pancake to get primed). I decided to try some non-breakfast items. The breaded tilapia got a fine, lightly crispy coating with almost no oil in the pan and the flesh was moist and flaky. Now this appliance really had my attention.

I have many memories of my mother’s electric pan. Hers was a griddle: rectangular with no sides and just a trough along the edges to collect the grease. She made Sunday breakfast on it every week. When I started cooking myself, I dissed these devices as unfortunate fads from the 70′s. Can you imagine a culinary school teaching chefs to use these things now?

Before the end of my vacation, I had a few more electric skillet successes: fried (but not greasy) eggplant slices for a casserole with fresh mozzarella and a tomato-mushroom ragout, and perfectly seared steak (the gas on the grill ran out). Though I’ve done some research and discovered you can buy all kinds of new electric skillets, I’m going on Freecycle to see if I can find one that someone still has lying around from the 70′s. They just don’t make things like they used to.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
            • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found

            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students.